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Loci Antiqui #9

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Loci Antiqui #9

Postby tbearzhang » Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:45 am

I'm working on the Loci Antiqui, #9 (Autobiographical notes by Horace)

The last sentence of the first paragraph:

Hoc magnum esse duco, quod placui tibi, qui bonos a turpibus secernis non patre claro sed vita et pectore puro.

My translation:

I consider this (thing) to be great, the fact that I pleased you, who separates good (men) from ugly/disgraceful (men) not (by) (a) famous father but (by) life and pure heart.

Question:

Why is the verb "secernis" in the second person?

I think that "qui", the subject of the verb "secernis", refers to "tibi" (i.e. Maecenas, whom Horace is addressing). But in the subordinate clause, does that mean that "qui" is equivalent to "tu" and thus the corresponding verb takes the second person ending? Is that a common phenomenon in Latin grammar? Is there a similar phenomenon in English? (I thought that even when referring to "you", "who" takes a verb in the third person in its subordinate clause.)

Thanks in advance!
行勝於言
FACTA NON VERBA
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Re: Loci Antiqui #9

Postby bedwere » Fri Jul 08, 2016 4:01 am

This is perfectly regular in Latin, English, and (I, who am not an expert :wink:, would venture to say) in all Indo-European languages. Example in English: Our Father, who art in Heaven. So the verb whose subject is the relative pronoun has the person and number of whatever the pronoun is referring to.
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Re: Loci Antiqui #9

Postby Victor » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:48 pm

tbearzhang wrote:My translation:

...that I pleased you, who separates

Examples of this kind of discord, where a first or second person singular antecedent is paired with a 3rd person verb form in the relative clause, are fairly frequently met with in certain circumstances in today's English.* This doesn't mean that concord in these circumstances makes for incorrect English.

A similar lack of concord is certainly not a feature of Latin, as far as I know, and secernis in your example is perfectly standard.

*There seems to be a feeling that "who..." in these circumstances effectively stands for "who am someone who..." or "who are someone who...", as the case may be.
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Re: Loci Antiqui #9

Postby tbearzhang » Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:28 pm

Thanks everyone for the explanation.
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